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The Western notion of justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity or fairness.

There is no way to equally judge another human being or bring back what the violation has caused equally. The attempt will lead to mistakes and cruelty. More insidious is the notion someone can bring justice. I bring this up because the smart men and women I know (asked 40) all agreed this is why they still believe in the religion they believe in. Some cited fear of death as number 2 but all said they believe there has to be justice  from higher power ultimatey. And that this is the only solace they have in this world. They believe someone who took so much life, like a Dahmer, would have to be judged by something eternal. I said someone in war may take 100's of lives but this is judged justice because they did it under orders or for a "just" cause.

Justice does seem to be hard wired instinctual.Most social mammals show different degrees of abhorrents to inequality.Especially primates.

But essentially isn't the pursuit of real justice not possible? Calling it necessary means this will make those who deem the power to wield it, to better humanity, unjust from the beginning? Isn't justice another way of claiming superiority? Doesn't a despot in the world use it to claim there power? If we agree justice is not a noble pursuit and clearly impossible (like following the word of god), what laws or punishments should be changed or updated? How would you feel if a mass murder or child molester was treated with a kind hand, rather than the visceral feeling of gutting them like a pig and dancing in the entrails as they slowing die. I am the first to admit this sounds more like justice at a primal level. But should we be smarter than that?

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Do we call it justice because most people are not courageous enough to call it revenge? Where do we draw the line, that is, when do we call one revenge and the other justice?

They're the same.

We call it justice to feel civilized but it's still our hardwired desire to make someone pay for what they did to us. Whether this is by bashing their head in with a stone, or by dragging them through court and having them thrown into jail, or make them pay you compensation. It boils down to making them pay. In whatever way or form.

Heather was wrong when she said the law was invented to circumvent revenge. No, the law was invented to civilize and bring order to revenge, but still give people their revenge.


Some call it revenge, some call it balance.


then revenge has proven to be a good pursuit for the survival of humanity? And I agree. But what if justice could exist?

It is interesting that some law abiding citizens believe that criminals who have committed heinous crimes are somehow only guilty of a poor upbringing, lack of a loving environment, or a bad life decision. After working as a correctional officer for years it became all too clear that there are some individuals who cannot be successfully rehabilitated. To give them a verbal warning and release them back into society for a second chance (murderers, child molesters) is a senseless risk. Some people are simply evil and will not change. Reality is not always apple pie with a dollup of ice cream on top.  

Ed, do you think they are guilty of something else beyond accident of birth and poor upbringing? How can you tell a person can't be rehabilitated? Do you have an ability to see the future?

Where you worked as a correctional officer, was the system geared towards rehabilitation? Or was it like all jails that I hear of?

I agree with Ed. There are just some people that aren't worth giving a second chance. They don't want to or are for some reason or another incapable of following the rules of our society and need to be kept away from others so they don't cause more harm.

People who commit non-violent offenses (possession, burglary, shoplifting, etc.) can be rehabilitated, but murderers, rapists, and others who are inclined to violence will still be inclined to violence. Yes, environmental factors do play a part in that, and to undo those factors takes breaking and reforming a person, which is a lengthy and resource-intensive process. Still, there are those who just don't give a damn or will play the system and on getting out will just commit the same crimes again. My sister's murderer for instance displayed many signs of being a psychopath. He won't change, and quite frankly, I don't care if he does.

Good friend, consider this situation a person who is proved to be clinically insane or suffering from a disease like Alzheimer's disease will get a lesser punishment or go unpunished and the reason here would be they could not have acted otherwise. Where then is the difference if a psychopath acts according to his nature? Why punish him?

Why would murderers not be rehabilitated, because it is expensive? What does that say about the society? Is humanity so poor that it can't afford to rehabilitate one of its own?

Why wouldn't a psychopath change?

A determinist would state "People will do whatever it is in their nature to do. To commit a crime, to lament the crime, to sympathize with those affected by the crime, and to want to punish the crime. Whatever people do, they are helpless to do otherwise."

But we also compensate when necessary for survival, to do what is in our best interest. And if being a murderer is in our best interest to feed our ego and claim a power position for one int heir life why would showing them the same power postion from a different means to get there not change the result? If we were born that way why do people kill themselves? Because they were born to die? so then its another persons birth to stop that death. someone isn't going to make it here.

"Where then is the difference if a psychopath acts according to his nature?"

We grant culpability to those who we agree can assess a situation and make a decision. It doesn't matter whether a person can or can't choose any other decision because of determinism. The point is that person chooses to commit the act and in doing so reaps the consequences thereof. That person is punished because of the choice they made. If another choice could have or would have been made is irrelevant. The justice system works on what is or was not what might have or might never have been.

"Why would murderers not be rehabilitated, because it is expensive? What does that say about the society? Is humanity so poor that it can't afford to rehabilitate one of its own?"

It's more a matter of practicality. If we lived in a world where resources were infinite and and people life spans of forever where they could spend their time working for these causes, then yes we could attempt to rehabilitate every criminal (if there would be any in such a world). As it is, resources, time, man-power, and collective will are limiting factors preventing this from becoming a reality. People just have higher priorities then to work for the redemption of those who for whatever reason couldn't abide by the laws of society or thought those rules did not apply to them.

'Why wouldn't a psychopath change?"

Because they are incapable of feeling empathy, which brings up an excellent point that someone mentioned previously. The justice system also works to remove harmful people from society thus preventing more harm from happening. It's very utilitarian.


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